Ever since Cy Slapnicka signed Bob Feller for an autographed baseball and one dollar, Cleveland sports talent scouts have prided themselves on finding the right players. As the dust settled in Berea, the Browns player-personnel staff worked diligently to find players other teams left behind.
University of Kentucky wide receiver Dorian Baker has been the talk of camp, lately. The Cleveland Heights native has not been able to muster a professional poker face while expressing his feelings about playing for his hometown team.
“Come on. I just told you I’m a Browns fan,” Baker told clevelandbrowns.com. “I’m blessed. I’m blessed. It is honestly a blessing to come back to this city, and I have all my friends and family supporting me. I am just excited to be here and have this opportunity.”
Baker, 6′ 3″ and 213 pounds, has the frame necessary to play wide receiver in the AFC North. He spent most of his career dealing with a severe ankle injury. He came back on a medical redshirt exemption and averaged around eleven yards per catch in his career.
Merely getting here is not the end goal for Baker. He is not shirking his newfound expectation.
“You just have to come in and be a dawg,” Baker said (clevelandbrowns.com). “You can’t be scared to take reps, and you have to handle your business as a man, too. You can’t come in here bringing the same college attitude. You have to come in ready to play and ready to work. That is the attitude I am bringing – ready to work.”
Not being intimidated by an already stacked wide receiver corps, Baker knows hard work is the only path to greatness.
From possible fan favorites to reluctant roster moves, this player-personnel staff is willing and working to find any player who will help this team get better. Already drafting the current franchise quarterback who tried to plant the Oklahoma Sooners’ flag into the football turf at The Horseshoe against Ohio State, Dorsey and the staff found undrafted former Purdue quarterback and Buckeye heart-smasher David Blough. Blough felt confidently, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that he was in the same league as Dwayne Haskins, a quarterback his team beat, Daniel Jones, drafted by the New York Giants, and Kyler Murray, drafted number one overall by the Arizona Cardinals. The rest of the NFL did not agree, the knock on him being he had NFL quarterback intelligence, but no arm to back it up. Realistic expectations for Blough are to stay on the team as practice squad fodder. Blough’s chip remains fully lodged on his shoulder. He is not afraid to work hard, however. He is patterning his career goals after another Texan-turned-Purdue-turned-NFL quarterback, Drew Brees.
From general manager John Dorsey himself, to Vice President of Player-Personnel Alonzo Highsmith and assistant Vice President Eliot Wolf all the way down to scouts Colton Chappel and Matt Donahoe, this entire player-personnel staff is working hard to “build the Browns”. As the old saying goes, “A building is only as strong as its foundation.” The team can acquire first round draft pick talent; but, if there are no supporting players to push them, to outwork them in practice, to give them a “good look” on the practice squad, to out-learn them in the classroom, or to be willing to make more sacrifices for the betterment of the team, that talent will become complacent, stagnant and never live up to its expectations.
These “New Cleveland” Browns, as a team, are looking forward to working hard, not shying away from the hype, but building toward it.